Last December, two weeks short of his 100th birthday, Lynn's dad/Corey's grandfather died. We know a lot of people think this, but in our case, it's 100% true: Grandpal, as we called him, was a very special person. If you gave a casual nod and a friendly smile, you became his friend. Six months after his passing, his widow is still receiving two page condolence notes from people who'd met him once or twice.
Grandpal and Corey, about 1976
He had a brilliant mind, but only those who counted on his business acumen, knew it, because he refused to use his intelligence as a sword or a way to make himself appear better than others. His face almost always was lit with a smile and his optimism was infectious. He could be counted on, with only the slightest provocation, to head to a nearby piano and play beautifully any song you requested–in the key of C. He loved his chidlren and grandchildren in a way that most every human wishes to be loved–whole-heartedly and without judgment.
This will be the first Father's Day of our lives without him.
Last week, Lynn, with a few other relatives, spread some of Grandpal's ashes in a place that was almost sacred to him, a summer camp where he'd spent many years as a boy and young man. We knew about Camp Utopia (unfortunately, that's not its current name) because he had regaled three generations with embellished tales of his adventures there–Rattlesnake Rock, The You-Go-I-Go and the Bear Story, to name just a few. Of course, Lynn's heart was heavy as she held the remains of her father in her hands, but there was something completely right and peaceful in leaving a part of him in a place he so loved.
This Father's Day, if you are fortunate enough to have your dad still with you, celebrate him in grand style. Don't just pick out a tie or a book and call it done. Spend an hour asking him to tell you things you may not know (and if he's told you a million times, allow him to say it again). Be sure to tell him you love him. Have fun together. We hope you will make this a Father's Day neither of you will ever forget, because you never know, next year may be too late.
And if like us, you have only memories, find a way to celebrate your dad just the same. Do something wonderful for someone else in his name. Plant a tree that flowers in his favorite color. Call up a friend or relative and share funny or poignant memories. Write a poem about him or put together a scrapbook. Spend some time quietly sitting and remembering and appreciating your dad. That's what we'll be doing.
Lynn Colwell and Corey Colwell-Lipson are a mother-daughter team and co-authors of Celebrate Green! Creating Eco-Savvy Holidays, Celebrations and Traditions for the Whole Family, available at www.CelebrateGreen.net.